Some of the nursing students who attended the SNA Confrence in Lancaster, Pa., included (from left to right) Jenna Creed, Alexis O'Hara, Brian Hoffstadt, Makenzie Muhs, Alycia Fluck, Paige Ackerman, Allie Quinn, Katrina Larsen, and Jatara James.
The Student Nurses' Association chapter at DeSales University recently took home three awards during the Student Nurses' Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP) 64th Annual Convention in Lancaster.
The club won the Chapter Excellence Award 2016, Group 3; Membership Recruitment & Retention, Group 3, Gold Achievement; and Membership Recruitment & Retention, Group 3, Chapter of the Year.
“When they announced the first award, they [the students] all screamed,” says Kiersten Withrow, assistant professor of nursing and health and SNA advisor. “They were just beside themselves.”
Twenty nursing students from DeSales attended the conference. It’s the largest number the University has ever sent. Students went to panel discussions and keynote workshops on a variety of topics ranging from military nursing and high-risk OB nursing to pediatric oncology and becoming a successful bedside advocate.
They also learned lifelong skills that will benefit them throughout their careers. “It instills a passion for the profession, helps the members develop a sense of professionalism, and allows them to network,” Withrow says. “They develop relationships, gain mentors, and learn to appreciate lifelong learning.”
SNA is working to send up to six students to a two-day leadership workshop in Harrisburg in the spring. Thanks to the group’s fundraising efforts and the Student Government Association, two students will also be able to attend the National Student Nurses’ Association convention in Dallas, Texas in April.
DeSales currently has nearly 250 SNA members. The board is now comprised of 10 members – up from four – and about 35 students on average attend meetings. Withrow credits student excitement as well as a supportive faculty and department chair for the club’s success.
Fundraising and giving back are key components of the club. Students are planning an upcoming apparel sale and cheesecake fundraiser. They also have several community service events in December, including a health fair at Raub Middle School in Allentown and caroling for pediatric patients at Lehigh Valley Hospital. “They're always looking for ways to be involved,” says Withrow. “It’s what the students want. They really want an opportunity to give back.”
Her hope is that all this enthusiasm sparks more interest and that more students represent DeSales at SNAP and other conventions. “One of the advisors from Duquesne came up to me and said, ‘I’ve never seen so many DeSales students here before.’ And I said, ‘that's right and we're going to keep on doing this.’”
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